––– UPDATE –––

This is an updated version of an email that was sent earlier today. This version includes new information about international students taking classes online and staying in the U.S.

Thank you,

–– Academic Affairs
Provost's July Update
Dear Faculty,

I wanted to take a few minutes and update you on the University's progress in planning for Fall 2020 semester as we approach the end of July. We are living in a time of uncertainty, as states across the nation grapple with the pandemic and rising COVID-19 numbers. As a University, we continue to plan for face-to-face and hyflex courses for Fall 2020, and we continue to work closely with local and state health officials as we monitor the environment and create plans with the health and safety of the campus as our priority. 

I thank you for your patience, support and community spirit during these very challenging times. I have been so impressed by your commitment to our students and to each other. My commitment is to support you and to ensure that we have the planning and flexibility we need to meet the challenges of the fall term.

COVID-19 Protective Measures
The Employee, Instruction, Student, and Public Health groups are working in concert to address concerns for faculty, staff, and student safety. Our goal is to provide faculty and students with a safe learning environment. The latest Stage Four Employee Operations Guidelines address many of the issues associated with public interaction. Face coverings, room sanitization, travel restrictions, and other requirements are explained in the guidelines. In August, the University will be providing each faculty member with two face coverings. The University will also be offering alternatives to face coverings, such as “windowed coverings,” to better support instruction in the classroom. 

Courses that are unable to achieve social distancing requirements and must remain face-to-face, such as some labs and technical instructional environments, will require an approved Health Exception Request prior to the beginning of the semester. Submit Health Exception Requests to ISU’s Health Committee at covid@health.isu.edu . You can refer your questions to either covid@health.isu.edu or 208-282-2705.  

The Roaring Back Employee Operations Group has developed extensive guidelines for faculty and staff returning to work at ISU. The Roaring Back webpage has links to support materials such as the Roaring Back Stage 4 Employee Operations Guidelines and  Face Covering Tool Kit for Faculty , as well as many others.    

Communication/Health Updates
Provost Office communications are posted on the Academic Affairs website if you want to know more information regarding operations occurring within Academic Affairs and throughout the University. Please feel free to reach out directly to the Provost’s Office as well.

Our Health Committee has identified a new and helpful website for tracking purposes. It can be accessed at the Global Epidemics webpage . I encourage you to utilize this site when planning summer activities.

Fall Semester Scheduling Update
Every day we grow closer to Fall semester and a "new normal." Facilities has completed the daunting task of evaluating all existing and ad hoc classrooms on ISU’s campuses. In conjunction with the Instruction Group, the Registrar and Scheduler are adjusting classroom locations and schedules to accommodate the room requirements. All face-to-face sections will be socially distanced using a 6-foot standard that takes into account an individual’s own space, as well as the space required for entrances and exits. Many sections will be transitioned to a hyflex environment. This has been a complex process, but is slated for completion by July 18. If you have any questions, please contact your associate dean, who serves on the Instruction Committee , or for questions related to your own program, to your chair or program director. The link also contains a partial List of Action Items.

International Student New Restrictions
The U.S. Department of State rescinded their decision Tuesday afternoon and is no longer requiring international students to attend in-person classes during the pandemic to remain in the country.

ISU has purchased more than 250 OWL cameras to support synchronous, distance-learning sections. Additionally, ITS ordered 100 Dell Laptops for faculty and 350 Chromebooks for student use. They should all be in place before the beginning of the semester. Faculty members can receive video training on the OWL systems .

To support the change in the academic year regarding finals week, ISU has procured online proctoring for all faculty who wish to use it throughout the semester. Although the plan was initially to only support finals week, it is recommended that faculty allow students throughout the semester to experience the new testing format. This may lessen their apprehension during their semester final.

New Faculty Orientation
We will be holding a virtual New Faculty Orientation via Zoom on Tuesday, August 11, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. During this orientation, new faculty will receive all of the traditional information from units on campus via pre-recorded videos and expert panels. We will communicate more information about this orientation event to new faculty in a letter towards the end of July, but please, communicate this to them in your department and college communications as well.

This is a difficult time for Idahoans and our nation. The most important thing we can do is take care of ourselves and one another, and continue to be a statewide leader in the Coronavirus response. It is important that we remain united and continue to support our communities, the University, and, most importantly, each other. Thank you for all you do and for the sacrifices you continue to make to ensure the success of our community.

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." 
Winston Churchill

Stay safe,

–– Laura

Laura Woodworth-Ney
Executive Vice President and Provost
Idaho State
This email was sent to Idaho State University faculty.
Send comments, feedback, and questions to provost@isu.edu .